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LOPA: Practical Application and Pitfalls

04 September 2024 - 05 September 2024


Layers Of Protection Analysis (LOPA) is a risk assessment method used to determine the likelihood of a scenario occurring based on existing safeguards in order to protect against identified hazard scenarios and to identify any potential shortfall in the risk reduction required to meet predetermined, risk-based criteria.

The Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) prepared specific guidance for the applications of LOPA to determine the required safety integrity level (SIL) for overfill protection of highly flammable fuel bulk storage tanks at sites like Buncefield, which was the location of a major incident in 2005.

This course will draw on that guidance, its relevance to LOPA assessment in general and examples of pitfalls identified during the assessment of many LOPA studies from the petrochemical industry.

The course is presented by a member of the PSLG LOPA working group that developed the LOPA guidance.

Learning outcomes

Delegates will be provided with information that will help them to:

  • Know when to use LOPA or another more suitable method
  • Know how to perform a basic LOPA
  • Understand how to produce an effective LOPA, including preparation for detailed LOPA assessment and risk assessment requirements
  • Be able to produce a meaningful LOPA study within their business

What the course will cover

The course will begin by putting LOPA in perspective, looking at its uses and its complexity, letting delegates know when to use LOPA and when to consider other methods such as a Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA). Delegates will look at LOPA study prerequisites and preparation, target frequencies, input data sources and uncertainty. It will cover how to perform LOPA: LOPA rules and IEC 61511 requirements, scenarios, conditional modifiers, enabling events and independent protection/mitigation layers. Delegates will examine LOPA outcomes: regulator expectations and ALARP considerations along with human factors. There are interactive learning elements where delegates will look at example pitfalls associated with LOPA and also consider case study examples.

Who should attend?

The course is aimed at those engineers, managers and safety professionals who have a basic knowledge of risk assessment, possibly gained through Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies and Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) studies, and would like to have an understanding of the LOPA method, how to apply LOPA and the pitfalls commonly associated with this type of analysis.

Course presenter


Dr Colin Chambers CEng MIET has 24 years of experience at HSE, initially on the development of risk assessment methods for the assessment of safety-related systems, such as the Safety Integrity Level (SIL) determination method in the informative annex of BS EN 62061, and 23 years of experience of risk assessment within HSE, including as a COMAH technical assessor.

Dr Chambers was a member of the Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) that developed the PSLG LOPA guidance and was part of the team charged with assessing post Buncefield LOPA studies.

Dr Chambers has written peer reviewed papers and HSE reports on issues associated with LOPA and given numerous presentations at venues in the UK and in Europe.



The course will be run at the HSE Science and Research Centre in the spa town of Buxton.

Buxton is in the heart of the Peak District and has good links to major roads and motorways, mainline train stations and Manchester International Airport.

Details of hotels in the Buxton area can be found at


£1,350 per person (includes course notes, lunch and refreshments).

Book Course

Please note that all courses must be paid for via credit card at the time of booking.

Some of our training courses can also be delivered in-company, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Telephone: +44 (0)203 028 3704

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